LES SABLES D'OLONNE, France (AP) _ Thirteen sailors cast off Sunday from this harbor in western France to start of the four-month, 24,000-mile Vendee Globe Challenge solo-sailing race.

American Mike Plant, 39, joins South African Bertie Reed and 11 French sailors who will pilot 60-foot sloops south through the Atlantic before taking a left at the Cape of Good Hope sometime around Christmas.

The racers will then make a run around Antarctica to arrive near Cape Horn in February, then head up north through the Atlantic again to arrive back at Les Sables D'Olonne at the end of March.

On the way, the sailors will face winds of 50 mph and waves up to 13 feet. Each boat contains an emergency medical pharmacy and provisions to last the voyage.

Reed and French sailors Pierre Follenfant and Philippe Poupon are the favorites, but Plant, winner of the 1986 Tour du Monde solo race, said he thinks he has a good chance.

---

NANTES, France (AP) - The Soviet Union beat Britain 2-1 Sunday in the final of the European Women's team tennis competition.

The Soviet doubles team of Natalia Zvereva and Larissa Savchenko gained the deciding point by defeating Britons Jo Durie and Ann Hobbs 6-2, 6-2.

Earlier in the afternoon, Durie beat Zvereva 7-6 (7-4), 6-4. Leila Meshki of the Soviet Union beat Clare Wood, 6-3, 6-1.

The Soviet Union ended France's two-year reign as the European team champion although the competition attracted only six teams. Neither Spain, recent finalist in the Federation Cup, nor powerful Czechoslovakia sent competitors.

Aside from the Soviet Union and Britain, only France, the Netherlands, Italy and Sweden participated.

---

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) - Doug Curtis of the United States beat an international field of 2,000 runners to win the 1989 Bangkok Marathon Sunday in 2:20:15.

Stefano Batello of Italy was second at 2:20.43, followed by Kazuo Kuwabara of Japan in 2:22.05.

Curtis, 36, was awarded the King's Cup and $4,700. He was second last year.

---

MADRID, Spain (AP) - William Musyoki of Kenya won the 10th International Foot Race of Canillejas Sunday, finishing the 7.4-mile course in 33:46, 20 seconds ahead of Antonio Serrano of Spain.

Antonio Silio of Argentina was third in 34:05. Mark Curp of the United States was eighth in 34:56.

---

HIROSHIMA, Japan (AP) - Kim Bong-soo of South Korea won his second singles title in two weeks Sunday, beating Craig Johnson of the United States 6-0, 5-7, 6-1 in the RCC Ludens Open$

---

TOKYO (AP) - Cuba beat Japan 15-7, 16-14, 15-3 Sunday and won the World Cup men's volleyball title with a perfect 7-0 record, after winning the women's title two weeks ago.

Japan finished the eight-team tournament at 2-5. European champion Italy beat the United States, the 1988 Olympic gold medalists, 15-7, 15-11, 15-6. The Italians finished second at 6-1 record.

The United States, defending world and tournament champions, were 3-4.

---

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) - Former world featherweight champion Juan LaPorte of Puerto Rico on Sunday withdrew from his international super-featherwe ight fight against unbeaten Renato Cornett of Australia.

According to promoter Craig Mordey, LaPorte cited difficulties in arranging a trainer to accompany him to Australia as his reason for withdrawing from Wednesday's scheduled fight.

Cornett, who has a 17-0-1 record, will instead face Dwight Pratchett of the United States. Mordey said. Pratchett, a former NABF champion, has a 16-9 record, according to Mordey.

---

OSAKA, Japan (AP) - Miyako Iwai took the lead in the final 4.7-mile leg Sunday and her Chuo University team beat 10 foreign and 19 Japanese squads in the 21.7-mile Japan Inter-University women's relay race.

Japanese teams took the top three places. Chuo's six runners combined for a time of 1:59:57. Tokyo Agricultural Women's Junior College followed in 2:01:06 and Tokyo College of Physical Education was third in 2:01:29.

It was Chuo University's first victory in the relay race, called an ekiden, which is through the streets of Osaka, western Japan.

Leningrad Institute of Physical Education finished fourth in 2:02:04. Leningrad anchor Natalia Artimova was eighth when she started her leg, but overtook four runners.